Native marine macroalgae, also known as limu, or as seaweed, thrive in environments created by natural groundwater seeps, specifically benefiting from the combined effects of enhanced  nutrients despite lowered salinity levels, according to a review published recently by a team of University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa researchers. Conversely, in areas where the seeping groundwater is tainted by excess nitrogen typical of wastewater, the study found it is invasive species that typically flourish in Hawaiʻi.

Native macroalgae studied here demonstrate faster growth and photosynthesis rates in regimes of natural leakage of groundwater along coastlines, also termed submarine groundwater discharge. But numerous studies have shown that the composition and amount of submarine groundwater discharge have been greatly affected by humans.

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